The problem arises when you have little else to do and you are led by the nose by a newspaper. You stick that same nose into things that are none of your business. That has always been the problem with the incestuous relationship between Boston U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and her friends at the Boston Globe. She has now announced that she is going to look into the Boston Latin School (BLS) situation which has already been done by those who have the primary responsibility for doing it: the City of Boston.
What law permits the federal government to get involved in a full-scale investigation of a public school system where there is no demonstrable injury to anyone (other than one’s feelings) and those charged with the responsibility have already well-handled it. Does the mere cry of racism mean the federal government can intrude on state affairs? There is no allegation that any crime has been committed even though some falsely justify the actions of Ortiz by pointing to the killing and riots that happened in Ferguson, Missouri. In truth there is so little of concrete alleged that Ortiz should have on the face of the letter requesting her interference rejected the request. There appears little, if any, precedent for a U.S. attorney to be investigating a large public school system in the United States in this manner. Why in Boston?
No one wants to speak truth to power. Here the power is the Globe and the U.S. attorney Ortiz. The Boston mayor and school superintendent rather than being outraged at this overreach according to Ortiz “pledged their full cooperation in this investigation.” What next will the major welcome? Will he cave if the federals decide they want new school headmasters or that they want certain courses taught or certain privileges accorded to some or the erosion of standards at Boston Latin School? Does he really welcome this as is reported?
It amazes me that Mayor Walsh lacks the courage to stand up and tell Ortiz to keep her people out of his tent? Is he cowed because she scared him by wrongly adding to an indictment that his city hall tipped off some restaurants on behalf of the Teamsters? Does he fear she will investigate him because the Globe complains that some of his friends talk to him on behalf of people they are paid to represent? Are we to see him abandoning his responsibilities and handing them over to unelected federal bureaucrats out of fear?
I’m amazed at the way the Globe and the U.S. Attorney always are cooperating. During the recent Oscars someone talking about the movie Spotlight praised the Globe reporters because they were not afraid to stand up against the power as if the Globe was not a powerful organization. In truth it took little courage to stand up to the imagined power of the Catholic Church. Here where there is a power to stand up to, the local U.S. Attorney’s office, the Globe shies away and works with it. These two powers feed off each other as we’ve seen in the past and as we now see in the investigation of Senator Brian Joyce which I wrote about recently.
The allegations that bring Ortiz into the case are set out in a five-page letter replete with generalities from the NAACP, ACLU and others. It sets out less than five specific verbal wrongs that occurred over several years. It should be noted the matters complained of by these groups have already been looked into and found wanting. The Boston Public Schools Office of Equity had previously conducted their own internal audit and concluded that BLS administrators did not violate any policies or procedures. It made recommendations to follow to ensure future actions would even be better. Compare its thorough findings with the vague allegations in the letter of the NAACP and others.
A few individual instances of racial hostility adequately investigated should have put this matter to rest. Mayor Walsh welcoming the federal intrusion into the operations of the Boston Public Schools is surely a recipe for disaster. Its investigation and forced changes will be disruptive to education and destructive of morale among the teachers and principals. It will produce a rate hole of false allegations against others, statements predicated on revenge, hostility, and anger, one teacher squealing on another to court federal favor, and a host of other problems.
The Boston Public School system deserves a mayor who would stand up for it. Its principals and teachers operating in difficult environments deserve backing; they should not be tossed into the federal fires. The mayor’s pusillanimous actions should be roundly condemned.
If there is any public school system that is keenly aware of the civil rights of all students it is the Boston Public Schools. Unfortunately some with sinister motives want to tear down what it has taken many years to repair. They know the best way to do it is to bring in the federal gang.